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Stories by Ruth Newell

Historic Coronado, California

I float in a sun-warmed, peanut-shaped tile pool, watching the breeze flip the palm fronds against a turquoise San Diego sky, sipping a midday mimosa. Cally, the woman for whom I was house sitting, had ...

The Conundrum of Desert Farming

Swaying in a hammock strung beneath palm trees on a cliff side high above Rainbow Valley, a tiny village just east of the unincorporated town of Fallbrook, I look out fifteen some odd miles over ...

Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

Carlsbad Cavern National Park lies within the limestone Guadalupe Mountain range – the world’s best-preserved Permian-age fossil reef – in what was once a shallow inland sea some 240-plus million years ago. I talked my ...

Hellhole Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Pummeled by roaring, tent-folding winds most of the night, I awoke to the softest of morning gusts coming out of the canyon. Swaying in my hammock, I sipped freshly brewed licorice root tea surrounded by ...

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

The Amistad National Recreational Area on the Mexican border is beautiful waterway, surrounded with blooming prickly pear cactus and wildflowers. And, apparently, monster snakes. I was careful as I made my way down the rocky ...

Camel Lake, Apalachicola National Forest, Florida

After just a week on the road together, my friend and I found that we were living for the next set of trees, the next perfect spot to string the hammock. It may seem like ...

Padres Island National Seashore, Texas

The flag was at half-mast the Sunday morning last April when we pulled into Padres Island Visitors Center to purchase our backcountry camping permit to the largest undeveloped barrier island in the world. The National ...

Desert Oasis in Indian Canyons, Palm Springs

Having seen two of the palm groves at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, I was inspired to drive north towards Palm Springs to see the largest palm groves in the world at the Agua Caliente ...

Oak Alley Plantation, Louisiana

The thing about bayous is that they are humid, wet places. Very wet places. The trees that grow there know it. The things that live there know it. I knew it, too. Know it still. ...

San Diego's Inland Sea: Salton Sea, California

I rolled my Celica up to the Border Patrol guards stopping traffic along Route 111 north of El Centro. When asked where I was headed, I explained that I was here to see “their” sea. ...

Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina

Originally set on 125,000 (now a mere 8,000) acres in the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains of Appalachia, Biltmore Estate was built by George Vanderbilt along the French Broad River in North Carolina. With its original ...

Boulder Park, Jacumba, California

Out on Route 8 east of San Diego stands the 70-foot Desert View Tower above Boulder Park in Jacumba. For three dollars I was allowed to climb the three-story stone tower that houses a museum ...